As the NBA trade deadline approaches, the Phoenix Suns find themselves in a position needing to gauge the market value for players they have been shopping around.
More from Suns News
- Ranking the Phoenix Suns’ 5 holiday games in 2023-24
- Zion Williamson gets compared to Phoenix Suns legend
- Suns player preview: Bol Bol can be the perfect role player
- Former Suns’ guard shows he is officially done with Phoenix
- NBA insider guarantees Suns’ rival won’t make blockbuster trade
In the previous fantasy general manager feature, Markieff Morris was acknowledged as the most notable trade chip the Suns have. After this regular season, Morris is due $24 million over the next three years making him an attractive asset since his talent does exceed the value of his contract.
Another thing a GM should do is try to find what is a potential trade partner missing. What are their weaknesses? What is this team trying to shop around or does not want anymore? When a GM searches and crunches numbers in combination with this, a possible trade can be found.
If I were the Suns GM I would target the Brooklyn Nets. Phoenix and Brooklyn are in similar situations as they are second to last in their respective conferences. Both are in a transitional period as their head coaches were fired, and the Nets have reassigned former GM Billy King to other team duties.
The Suns need scoring and can get some from the Nets while unloading some pieces to facilitate that move. The front office made a mistake giving Brandon Knight a $70 million contract for five years, and perhaps they recognize it because the fans sure do. There is a way to package Knight, Morris and defensive specialist P.J. Tucker in a deal to bring former Sun Joe Johnson and his seven-foot teammate Andrea Bargnani to the Suns.
It takes care of the Suns’ problems: a disgruntled Morris leaves town to move to the northeast where he will be closer to home, Knight’s contract becomes Brooklyn’s responsibility and Phoenix adds another shooter to the rotation that needs more options.
The Nets do not have a point guard, and Knight can be inserted into the starting lineup as he is coming back from injury. Donald Sloan has been the starter and Jarrett Jack is not able to give more minutes than what he does on the bench so Knight is an upgrade. Morris gives the Nets another scoring option with Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez, and Knight likes to distribute. The addition of Tucker provides some much needed perimeter defense, but the Nets are not going to be world beaters. The new look will suit them better than before though.
The Suns will able to run with a core of Archie Goodwin handling the offense with weapons like Devin Booker and Johnson as reliable scorers, but having Bargnani stretch the floor can open up space for everyone on the floor.
This may even benefit centers Tyson Chandler and Alex Len since there will be no Morris to share the paint with. Spreading the floor helps not just shooters, but the slashers as well. Goodwin will be able to drive the lane if need be or use Chandler or Len in a pick-and-roll approach.
Phoenix should also push to get a draft pick from the Nets, giving up better and younger talent. Getting that cherry on top is key. Unfortunately, according to prosportstransactions.com, Boston either owns or has the option to swap picks with Brooklyn until 2018. The Suns should try for a pick in the future, but cash is also an option here too.
Financially speaking this helps the Suns immensely as Johnson’s contract expires at the end of this season. Shedding that $24.9 million really maximizes the potential for the Suns for free agency. Bargnani’s situation can be good one way or another since he has a player option for 2016-17. Should the Italian 7-footer decide to stay in Phoenix, his salary is only going to cost the Suns approximately $1.5 million for next season.
Lake Show Life
With a salary cap that is expected to hit the $90 million mark for next season, the Suns would have plenty of ammunition to pursue unrestricted free agents like Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Mike Conley or Hassan Whiteside among others.
Even the restricted free agent list has some interesting names like Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes. Chasing those players costs more than money so consider these players as a plan B option.
The players with opt-out clauses include LeBron James, DeMar DeRozen, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, but this is where the risk comes in. The Suns cannot be guaranteed that any of these players will hit the market, so there is a possibility that this could backfire. This is not really a primary option, but these players should still be monitored closely as their decisions to opt out will determine what the Suns will do.